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one night by Rantichan… November 24, 2008

Posted by yayanlei in cerita.
senja di sungai bulan

senja di sungai bulan

First, I have to do apologize for using the Wisma Hijau as the setting of this story and also for picking up some real names, especially Mbak Turi, in it. I hope nobody minds.

This story never really happens. I create some of the characters; Fadel, Itang, Amar and Hari. They do not really exist. It’s just fictitious!

Please feel free to send me critique and suggestion.


One night, Pak Kom struggled against something. What was it?


One Night

By Rantichan

As the clock on the wall showed that it was 10.15 pm, Fadel tried hard to close his eyes. He laid alone on his old mattress in his room, his hand as pillow and his pillow as bolster. It wasn’t late yet and it wasn’t his habit also to go sleeping so early. But there was nothing else he could do. Everybody whom used to be his discussion mates were gone; Aldi had been in Getas for two weeks for a PU or general practice, Itang had just left this morning for a KKN and probably would not come back before two months and Amar had gone to his hometown, Kebumen, since two days ago and there was still no sign of his return to their beloved Wisma Hijau. And so he was lonely, alone in a place he’d just moved in for the past a month.

If it wasn’t for his responsibility as the new elected Pak Kom, he wouldn’t be there, getting stuck in an old Javanese styled house which some parts of the wall were moldy and the roof leaked often under the rain.

For the sake of our HMI, Fadel, it has been a tradition for every elected Pak Kom to move to Wisma Hijau. We hope you’re ready and preparing yourself.” Fadel didn’t even remember the person who had said that. The moments of that RAK, when all HMI members of Forestry Commissariat gathered for responsibility reporting of the previous administrators and elected the next ones, had been so touchy. Everybody had hugged him one by one after he was elected, had congratulated him and had promised him to work together with all the strength they could muster.

He couldn’t hold back his tear, not caring that he stood before public eyes. It was half because of the proud covered his heart. He was elected! Of all the people there! Though organization of college student’s movement had not been so popular again, if we couldn’t say that it was faded, due to the new educational regulation which had been a big restriction to it, it still gave him a great proud to be the elected as Pak Kom. HMI was once one of the greatest college students’ organizations in Indonesia wasn’t it? And many famous names in Indonesia; Akbar Tanjung, Prof. Suhardi, Prof. San Afri Awang, used to be HMI members when they were in college, didn’t they? He asked himself if someday he would ever have his name written with golden ink like them.

The other half was because he was fully aware that a great responsibility now waited for him. With the slack of the student’s movement recently, it would need an extra work hard to run his leadership within the organization. What if he failed? He closed his eyes and threw away an imagination of a failure. It wasn’t something impossible that a reporting responsibility of an administration period was rejected in RAK. It DID happen in HMI of Forestry Commissariat’s history.

Thus, he said goodbye to his cozy fancy dorm room in Swakarya then, where all the comfortableness of a far away from home college student was available for him. He had managed to bring some of his stuffs from his old room. But his new place was too old that his stuffs wouldn’t be any helps at all to change anything. Other old stuffs were piled everywhere, most from the ex- occupants who left them as “inheritance”, but he thought it would be more appropriate to be called…em…piece of garbage?

A chill shivered down his spine when he first entered at the house as an occupant. It never happened when he came there as a guest to attend the commissariat’s program. There was a strange aura inside there, a mystical like one, something he couldn’t explain. Was it probably because of the oldness of the building or something else…? He didn’t want to think about that.

But on his mattress that night, he again thought about the weirdness he experienced when he first time entered at that house. Something he had almost forgotten if only…he were not alone.

But of course, the more he tried to avoid thinking about that, the more that thought annoyed his mind.

The other occupants in that house didn’t help him at all. Story by story were told from time to time.

The famous one was the oppression experience happened to some of Wisma Hijau ex-occupants.

Oppression often happened to the new occupant of this house, so be ready. It’s a kind of welcome greeting.” Itang said on a free evening discussion one day, at the Wisma Hijau terrace.

What are you IMPLYING by that?! Don’t scare Pak Kom that way,” Aldi replied and threw a deadly glare to his friend, “Don’t worry, Pak Kom, it won’t happen if you do not forget to pray before you go sleeping.”

But I believe it really happens in certain places,” Another discussion member stated, this time it was an akhwat, from Kohati. “I experienced oppression a lot when I was still in my old dorm room in Karangmalang, but it really only happened in THAT room. When I moved to another room then, it never happened again.”

I agree with you. You know, in Getas Campus, oppression only happens in room number seven.”

Yeah! You’re right. When I had my general practice in Getas, all my friends in room number seven got oppression almost every night. Poor them, thanks God I got room number nine.”

Ahh! Bullshit! Oppression is a phenomenon of blood circulation disturbance. It’s the truth, through a medical perspective. All you have to do to avoid it is by keep practicing your body regularly. Have sports, with a trained body you’ll be healthy and your blood circulation will be good too. And you’ll never have any oppression.” Hari, a ‘permanent guest’ of Wisma Hijau, who always came there almost everyday after classes and went to sleep in his own dorm room in Karangwuni after 9 or 10 pm, suddenly entered at the discussion as he climbed down his motorbike and sat down on an empty space of the bamboo chair there.

Hey! Don’t be so arrogant! Wait till you experience it by yourself!”

You have to try spending night sleeping here, and you’ll find that this oppression thing isn’t bullshit.”

Yeah! Yeah!” The others cheered up.

And the conversation kept flowing as Fadel had his mouth shut and sweat dropped on his forehead, but he would not let anybody know that he was…

He was…em…frightened…eh…thrilled by such a story.

The oppression story was one thing, and the ghost story was another one.

It was probably because of the oldness of the house, or probably because of something else hard to explain, but it was true that he wasn’t the only one who thought to feel the mystical aura inside there. How could somebody explain an appearance phenomenon?

Since that time, he always made himself busy to forget about the story. Luckily, it had been tradition for the occupants of Wisma Hijau to keep awake as late as possible. There was always way to keep their eyes opened wide at night; discussion, discussion and discussion. It was part of the process to form the cadres’ characters and it had happened from generation to generation. They didn’t always talk about serious things. One to be called ‘the after 9 pm discussion’ was even often needed to be…ups…censored! Oh, don’t worry, there’s nothing bad about it! It’s only that their cheeks would blush in embarrassment, if Kohati ever heard about it! Fadel often fell asleep without he was even aware that the conversation still went on.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen tonight.

Tonight he was alone, with no friends to have discussion, with nothing to do, not even an assignment to bother him.

For the first time in his lifetime, he wished he had an assignment to do; Economic Analysis of Forestry Projects, Social Forestry, or whatever so he wouldn’t keep awaking with his mind racing about irrational things.

He told himself again; oppression had nothing to do with mystical thing, it was a blood circulation disturbance; and ghost was only a pathetic human illusion, it was never real, it DID never exist.

But he hided his face under his cover, which happened to be a sarong, when suddenly a strange noise was heard from his room. His ears and mind worked in concentration; examining, analyzing.

It was the voice of the door opened and steps; stepped lightly on the plastic carpet above the cement floor of the…of the…Wisma Hijau hall; stepped directly toward…his room.

Who…or what it could be? He was sure he was alone there at that time.

As if his sarong wasn’t enough to cover his face, he grabbed a pillow quickly and buried his head under the old little stinky thing tightly.

He wished the dawn would come soon, he promised himself that he would not wake up late tomorrow morning and that he would have his Subuh on time at Istiqomah mosque.

His wish came to be a lullaby which soon lulled him to a short dreamless sleep because his biological need woke him up sometime during the night.

Oh my God! He needed to pee now!

He needed it so badly that he thought he would not survive to wait till the dawn came.

The strange voices weren’t heard again but something refrained him from going to the toilet soon.

The toilet was placed far away at the back side of the house; there was a long hall, a longer parking room and a kitchen he had to walk through if he wanted to go there. He glanced at the clock and couldn’t help to feel disappointed; the dawn was still long enough to come; it was still few minutes past midnight now.

He knew he wasn’t supposed to be afraid; Allah protected all creatures who prayed to Him.

With a Bissmillah, he started walking through what seemed to be a dark, never ending hall, parking room and kitchen. Hey! He didn’t even remember that he had turned the lamps off!

But, Alhamdulillah, he finally succeed to get to his destination and released his urgency. He hummed happily as he exited the toilet with relieve feeling. See, nothing’s bad gonna happen if we believe in Allah, really believe.

He laughed of himself for his stupidity. What a ridiculous thing! He couldn’t refuse an imagination of himself if he failed to overcome his fright. He would have peed on his underpants, wouldn’t he?

He slapped his own forehead lightly as he headed back to his room. But after only few steps, he stopped dead in his track.

A short figure emerged from the dark. However he tried hard to adjust his sight in the darkness to see what the figure was, the only thing his eyes could catch was that this figure had its hair messed up like bird nest.

What kind of creature was that?

Shouldn’t an appearance only show up in a blink of eye or in a split of second? Why did this one seem to do so long?

It seemed like walking closer towards him, and though his pride didn’t allow himself to express his fear, his nature couldn’t refrain from…


The scream split the night, luckily, it was suppressed enough that anyone who ever happened to hear would just ignore it as if it were part of their dreams, and they would just adjust their covers back to sleep.

Fadel ran as fast as possible back to his room, not hearing the grunt the creature let out behind him.

What a very shocking experience. Inside his trembling body, he still managed to get himself under control. Istighfar and istighfar soon flew out through his mouth as he adjusted his rushing breath under his cover again in fetal position.

He was exhausted by his fright and shock and finally driven to sleep as his breath started steady.

The dawn found him awake as adzan Subuh from Istiqomah echoed inside his room. Rubbing his eyes with both hands, he got up and headed towards the mosque on foot.

He still needed sometime, however, to manage his mind and to analyze what’s really going on that night. And so he stayed longer than usual at the mosque, contemplated between his dzikir. Had he been overreacted? He recalled what a friend ever said, “If we believe in a myth more than we believe in Allah, Satan will help us to materialize our thoughts. Like when we believe that a genderuwo lives in a big tree, we’ll really see it popped up sometime. Satan does it to make us think that the myth is really true and so we get closer to him and thus, without we are even aware, we’ll really be away from Allah.”

Astaghfirullah… Was that what happening to me?” He mumbled.

Doubt was vanished now, and mind was clear. Sighing, he got up from his sitting position and came back to Wisma Hijau.

The sun started to rise in the east and the morning was bright enough that he didn’t need too long thought to recognize the person who was sitting on the bamboo chair at the Wisma Hijau terrace, still in his sarong while reading yesterday newspaper.

“Amar! Assalammualaikum! I didn’t now you’re back!” He hurried up his steps to greet his friend and took a seat across his after shaking hands.

“I came back last night. I got a trouble with the bus so I arrived here very late. I didn’t bother to wake you up because I saw you sleeping very soundly under your sarong and pillow last night.”

A slight of pink tinted Fadel’s cheeks in embarrassment, “Oh…” So, Amar was the one whom he heard walking towards his room last night…

“And Mbak Turi told me about the incident happened between you two last night. She said sorry for surprising you. She didn’t mean it.”

Mbak Turi? Oh, well, he completely forgot about her.

As the blush on his cheeks grew deeper from light pink to red, a short figure they were talking about, the owner of Wisma Hijau building, showed up from the east side of the house with a broom in her hand. She was doing her morning routine; sweeping the yard.

Fadel lost his words. Mbak Turi, though her curly hair was now tied into a neat pigtail, not messed up like a bird nest again; she had the same height as the figure he met last night. How couldn’t he recognize her that time?



Jogjakarta, November 2008




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